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Is the Barbie Vs Bratz smackdown important?

By December 12, 2008 - 2:33pm
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You may have seen recently that Mattel (Barbie) won a lawsuit against MGA Entertainment (Bratz) and Bratz will no longer be made or sold after the holiday season. Something about the creator of Bratz having worked at Mattel originally and violating a copyright or competition clause.

Anyway, the moms of the world are pro-Barbie or pro-Bratz (yes, all this in the midst of a global economic crisis!) and those who are pro-Bratz claim she is a fun rebel with spunk. The Barbie supporters say the Bratz dolls are trashy, over-sexualized dolls who wear too much makeup.

Personally I don't like either doll and neither doll has a place in our home. Not due to some moral crusade but my kids prefer other kinds of toys and games and I'm happy with that. But "trashy" Bratz aside, Barbie's figure is a rather overly sexualized one too, with a bust to waist to hip to leg ratio that would literally disable a real woman if she had those actual measurements.

Is all this fuss over nothing? Or do these dolls really say something to our young girls?

Add a Comment4 Comments

I remember hating how my barbies looked. I never noticed their sexuality, but I noticed that they looked all wrong, and not like 'normal' people. I much preferred a later doll I got that was a 50s design (sorry can't remember the name) and was much more like a real girl - normal shaped body, flatter feet, brown hair (!) and so on.

I definitely agree with the statement "the Bratz dolls are trashy, over-sexualized dolls who wear too much makeup" - but the barbie dolls aren't much better. However, because they come in ballgowns or ordinary clothes, kids see them as either princesses or mums, which is the way it should be really. My little sisters (10 and 11) play with bratz, and I can really see how their clothing choices have been affected by these silly dolls that dress like sluts rather than fashion queens.

I personally hate them. lol!

October 5, 2009 - 10:02am
EmpowHER Guest

I think neither barbie or Bratz are bad because when you play with them you know they may look perfect but everyone knows they are not real i think the barbie vs Bratz are important because they want to sell out their competing company so more people will buy their item then the leading brand. Like talking smut about the other toy like saying Bratz dolls have too much make up and barbies are too perfect and Bratz are sex dolls and slutty and saying Barbies will brainwash kids into thinks thats what true beauty is. None of it was true the were lieing about it then suddenly people aggred about it and made rallys about it. Gezz people think too much of it my sister loves Barbies and Bratz but sinse Bratz is newer people like new things. I wonder what other smut they are going to say obout each other.

February 28, 2009 - 8:37pm

I have nieces who loved Barbies, then later loved Bratz, and then moved on to other things. If we looked in the bottom of their toyboxes, we would find all kinds of things there, including cast-aside Barbies and Bratz, their hair askew, their clothes scattered in among Legos and play food.

I think that, as with so many things, toys probably make a difference depending on how they are presented and what the parents' perspectives are. I remember playing with Barbies, wild dimensions aside, and what most irked me about her was her feet, which were permanently molded into high heels. I didn't confuse my body image with Barbie's any more than I confused my sneaker-clad feet with her molded ones.

I agree with Alysia, though, on the effects that young pop and country and television stars have on kids. I remember having my teen idol crushes from about age 14 to maybe 16. Now it's totally a tween thing when it begins, if not earlier. It starts on Disney and Nick, with kid-charming shows like Hannah Montana, Full House reruns, and so on, and somehow in there it becomes Mylie and Ashley and Mary Kate and the Jonas Brothers, and suddently my 9-year-old niece is attracted to someone's new video. I think every generation believes that the generation that comes after it grows up faster than it did, but you have to wonder just how much farther it can go.

December 15, 2008 - 9:21am

Interestingly enough, it was a woman, Ruth Handler, who created the Barbie doll and co-founded Mattel. I knew a girl who, at 18, looked enough like Barbie to have been a model for the doll.

My youngest sister and my daughter had Barbie dolls; but, they weren't focused on the figure or knew what sexuality meant, at the time. They were more into the various "roles" Barbie could play, or curling the hair and driving her around in her little pink car to park in front of her enormous doll house. Kids these days have more insidious fantasy characters we should worry about, like the dominatrices in some video games or self-created avatars modeled after their favorite rock stars.

As for Bratz, I never cared for those characters, either, including the name. But, they reflect the change in young girls' attitudes and preference for the more hip and edgy over the conservative (to the point of boring). After all, what was bombarding them from MTV, etc.?

Personally, I'm more concerned about the influence of certain pop stars on our young girls than dolls. At least most kids understand that dolls aren't real.

December 12, 2008 - 9:24pm
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